Wednesday, July 23rd to Thursday, July 24th We set out from our hotel (baggage getting increasingly heavy and weather increasingly sweat-inducing) to our pre-appointed bus meeting spot. Upon arrival, Jeannette inquired about the bus at the hotel lobby we had arrived at and they did not know what she was talking about. The hotel graciously called the CITS agent and figured out that we should be waiting across the street from this hotel on the side of the road (by now we should have known), not in the lobby as instructed. The bus arrived soon thereafter and we were swooped up and on our way.
The bus to Shenzhen is an 11-hour journey through the night, to conveniently and cheaply get us to the Chinese border with Hong Kong. After boarding and getting situated, it became clear that the “sleeper” bus would prohibit most sleep. Each passenger is given a bed that is affixed in a semi-reclined position with the footwell of the passenger behind you under your back. Accordingly, your footwell is a tiny, enclosed space for your lower legs, encasing them in a rigid, plastic tube up to about your knees. If you are any taller than the very tallest Chinese person, in this case approximately 5′-6″, you could not possibly fit into these beds. Josh could not even get his legs inside of the footwell compartment and thus was a tangled mess of protruding and gangly limbs. In addition, we had a few too many “precious” pieces of luggage we didn’t want below the bus, making all of this more difficult. The best description we could come up with for the bed compartment was something like the experience of chaperoning a young child onto an amusement park ride in the kiddie-land section. You squeeze yourself into a very awkward position to fit into a very hard and unforgiving container that you will then be jostled in and bruised for approximately 1.5 minutes, only in this case that lasts for approximately 11 hours. Continue reading →